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Posted on September 28th, 2014 (12:21 pm) by Heather Milkiewicz

“Hold onto your world you’re a West Side girl. Top of the world, you have it so, have it so, good.” The lyrics from the track “West Side” seem to best describe the feeling elicited throughout the new EP, Committed To The Crime, by Chaos Chaos (aka the band formerly known as Smoosh). The second release under the band’s new name could best be characterized as a carefully crafted coming-of-age manifesto. While the band has become more polished and cohesive, they have lost some of their signature playful, unique and inventive West Coast inspired sound. The EP at its best is both lyrically and rhythmically solid but overall the songs seem to lack a certain unexpected flavor that has been so appealing in versions of their former selves.

At 20 and 22, Chloe and Asya Saavedra are no strangers to the music scene, already holding 10 years experience under their belt since their first album, She Like Electric, was released in 2004. The previously Seattle-based duo has opened for major players such as Death Cab For Cutie, Pearl Jam and Sufjan Stevens. As Smoosh, the duo showcased their musical talent with the piano and drums front and center. By their 2010 release Withershins (formerly titled The World's Not Bad), it was clear that the duo was coming into their own, with growing instrumental and lyrical complexity. In 2012, they emerged full force with a new name and sound on their EP, S, utilizing heavier electronic and percussive elements with a vocal confidence that relayed a strength unlike ever before.

While their past two releases hinted at a musical trajectory closer to Cat Power or even younger versions of Tori Amos, in Committed To The Crime they have taken a turn to join the ranks of pop acts such as Haim, First Aid Kit and Tegan and Sara. Perhaps inspired by the latter, the recent divergence of Chaos Chaos into the world of synthpop and calculated lyrical innocence strongly reflects the shift taken in the 2013 album Heartthrob by the more seasoned Canadian duo. While the older pair were able to translate the wisdom of their thirty-something years into self-assured yet vulnerable tales of love and heartbreak, Committed To The Crime has put the band’s struggles with both musical and personal identity on the forefront.

No doubt there is a certain maturity that comes through on their latest EP, but there is also a conformity to a new sound and musical space that comes off at times as a bit monotonous and lackluster. While the album is more widely accessible to the average listener than their previous release, S, it is more homogeneous as well. Throughout the album, the rhythms and vocals are simple and steady, leaving songs such as “Do You Feel It” and “Better” coming off as somewhat uninspired and unoriginal.

The standouts on the album include “Breaker” and “Monsters.” The former best reflects the success of Heartthrob, with the perfect balance of synthesizer driven sound coupled with vocal ingenuity. The latter softens the mood a bit, with opening vocals and chords, reminiscent of a toned down version of Lorde on “Royals.” Lyrically, “Monsters” seems to most unabashedly reveal their movement into adulthood revealing, “There are monsters in my head, and there’s nothing you can do…”

Despite, the EP’s shortcomings, this is a solid effort by Chaos Chaos to emerge as a significant presence in the indie pop scene. With many years ahead of them and extreme talent, the Saavedra sisters have time to hone their art to reflect the truly unique musical style that is within their reach. In their own words, “I want, I want something better, better than ever, ever before.”

Track List:

  1. "Love"
  2. "Breaker"
  3. "Do You Feel It"
  4. "West Side"
  5. "Monsters"
  6. "Better"
Chaos Chaos: Committed To The Crime
Purchase at: Amazon | eMusic

Our Rating

65 / 100
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